Summer will be coming within the next few months and it never hurts to make sure your AC will be up for the challenge. Just like a vehicle, annual air conditioning maintenance goes a long way towards summer comfort, preventing high electric bills or worse: needing to hire a professional to repair a broken unit. 

Even if your AC seems to be running smoothly, you should still consider regular maintenance, as there could be problems hidden right under your nose. What’s the best part? You don’t need to be an expert to get the most out of your unit.

NOTE: Make sure the unit is turned off before you try and do anything.

Replace Your Filters

All you’ll need is a fresh filter.

This is probably the easiest way to maintain your AC, and yet the most overlooked. Filters get dirty over time, and if you leave them to collect more dirt than they can handle, they will reduce your AC’s efficiency quite a bit, which is something you don’t want when the temperatures start pushing triple digits.

If you are performing central air maintenance, the filters will be somewhere in the return duct. Air conditioners in your room will have a grill you can remove. Typically, filters need to be replaced every few months, but the time they need to be replaced will all depend on how often your system is used, how much dust collects within the unit, and how many pets share the home with you – fur is a major contributor.

Also, it helps to check what type of filter you have. Some filters can simply be washed and reused – you don’t always need to worry about buying a new one each time.

Clean the Coils

You’ll need a screwdriver, a soft brush and coil cleaner

An AC has coils that need to be cleaned every year or so. The coils can collect dirt over time, and a dirty coil can cause trouble for your unit. If you’ve been replacing your filters regularly, the chances of your coils getting dirty are reduced, but they should still be cleaned every now and then.

There are two types of coils – evaporator (indoor) and condenser (outdoor). You’ll find the evaporator coil somewhere on the unit inside, and it may have a door – this can be opened with a screwdriver. You should be able to see the coil in there. First, use the brush to dust it off, and then use coil cleaner to clean it off – coil cleaner is available at any hardware store.

To find the condenser coil, locate your outdoor unit. Make sure there isn’t any grass growing around it. Once you do that, use a screwdriver to remove its outer case. Inside, use cleaner to remove any dirt or debris – wipe off the fan as well. As a matter of fact, it’s best just to make sure the entire unit is free from dirt and debris.

Clean the Drain Pan

For this, you’ll just need soap, water and bleach.

A dirty drain pan can cause a good amount of trouble – possible overflow and a mess. To find the drain pan, try looking below the evaporator coil. Use soap and water to give it a good cleaning and be sure to finish off with a cup of bleach. The bleach works by killing algae and leaves the drain line sparkling clean.

If All Else Fails, Hire a Professional

These steps should get your unit in tip-top shape for the summer. Yet, if you’re not confident of your skills, or want a more thorough maintenance job, don’t be afraid to call a professional to annually maintain your AC. In the long run, you’ll end up saving money since you won’t need to make pricey repairs, and a smooth-running AC unit will surely cut down on your electric bills!

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